Renejay shares thoughts on first game vs. friend Yawi

Photo from MPL Philippines / Richard Esguerra

by Drew Malihan

QUEZON CITY - It was a bittersweet moment for Renejay "Renejay" Barcase after he clinched his M5 World Championship ticket with Blacklist International, six seasons after his debut in the big leagues with Nexplay Solid.

Renejay's title and M5 hopes came down to a winner-takes-all matchup between his team and defending MPL Philippines and M-World Champions ECHO, in which his good friend and former NXP teammate Tristan "Yawi" Cabrera, was part of.

With a sudden twist of fate, Yawi, who was only fielded once in Season 12, was subbed in as the Orcas' roamer for Games 3 and 4 of the Lower Bracket Finals, giving Renejay and Yawi their first faceoff since arriving in the MPL scene.

Finally in his best form
Of course, Renejay and his team has all the reasons to be happy as he finally achieved his best career run.

"Una po, masaya po kasi sila Yawi at ang ECHO ang M4 champions. Ngayon na kami ang nasa M5, sobrang laking impact at momentum nito sa amin na tinalo namin ang defending world champions (First of all we are happy as Yawi and ECHO are the M4 champions. Now that we are in the M5, it is a huge impact and momentum for us that we defeated the defending world champions)." Renejay stated during an exclusive interview with Dugout Philippines.

Renejay and Yawi, along with H2WO, formed Nexplay's big three during their Season 6 to 8 run. Photo from Nexplay Esports

He revealed that despite him and Yawi being teammates for so long, he learned to play POS5 roles not only by asking advices from his old friend but watching his ranked game streams.

"Hindi po ako madalas nakakapagtanong kay Yawi kaya ang ginagwa ko ay lagi kong pinapanood yung mga live nya (I don't have the opportunity to ask Yawi that often so what I did was to watch his live videos)," he said.

Renejay also credited other roam players, including former Blacklist captain Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna, on his ability to play support roles.

Post-game catchup
After the match, in which Blacklist clinched the M5 ticket after four games, Renejay quickly approached his buddy on stage, giving him a hug and exchanging smiles and quick messages before the entire ECHO squad bid goodbye to the season.

The Bataan native shared a few words on him and Yawi's quick catchup.

"Nagmessage po ako sa kanya. Sabi ko, nice game 'Wi. Sorry, tinalo kita. (I send a quick word to him. I said, nice game 'Wi. Sorry if I have to beat you)," Renejay stated.

He revealed that Yawi in return complimented his performance.

"Sabi nya, 'deserve ko daw. Good luck bukas' (He said, 'you deserve it. Good luck tomorrow'), he shared, smiling as he looks back at the moment.

The friends-to-rivals theme is not uncommon in the sporting world, spanning from Marco Reus and Mario Gotze in Germany, to Kairi and Baloy in Indonesia.

And for Renejay, the game result may be sour for some, but he knows that his Nexplay buddies, including Yawi, were proud of what he has become.

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